Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Power of Story

GPN Students Go to Legislature and Meet Youngest MLA, Thomas Dang.
This is our class taking a picture 
with Thomas Dang
Have you ever met an MLA before? Our class met 20 year old Thomas Dang.  He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us and mentioned Bill 1. It is a bill that he presented with the education minister about eliminating school fees. We hope it goes through because it will help out our parents. We also got to take a memorable picture with Thomas Dang on the steps that lead to the government chamber.

Room 14 Flies Back in Time!!    

On our way to the City of Edmonton Archives

You are probably wondering what we did at the Prince of Whales Armouries? First we arrived and toured the outside of the building. We saw the LRT railroad and the Royal Alexandra Hospital.  When we were in the Archives we got to choose a subject to find information and photos about. After that we went to the basement and learned that paper hates water. We then met Warrant Officer Howard. He gave us a tour and we got to participate in a drill where we sang a song which was very funny. After that we went on a letter hunt and got to try on different uniforms. We also touched artifacts, like the pineapple grenade and a death penny.  When we left we were very surprised about what we learned and touched. We felt like our heads were going to explode with all the new knowledge!!!!  

GPN Students Take a Sneak Peak Back in Time!!
Grade 4 students listen to Liam, interpreter at the
Federal Building as he explains about World War One.

Have you ever taken a trip back in time to learn about The First World War? Well GPN students have! The adventure started for us, when we got to know what it felt like to be in a trench and learned about loved ones back home waiting for their family to return. Each student got a dog tag it had a veteran’s name on it. We also got to find artifacts, cards and information about what happened to our veterans during The War and after!

Grade 4, Room 14 in Edmonton Journal Building with Photographer Larry Wong
Mr. Wong sharing exciting stories
about the world with students.

Larry Wong gets to meet famous people around the world. We saw photos he took of McDavid signing diapers and Premier Notley on her cell phone! He also took photographs of Fort McMurray during the wildfire. FUN FACT: Larry Wong Has His Own Website called Larry Wong Photography here’s the link CLICK HERE

EJ School Get Thumbs up from GPN Students
Getting picture taken by the Pulitzer Prize on our first day.
 Have you ever wondered what it’s like at EJ School? Throughout the week, we discovered lots. On Monday we took an awesome tour around downtown. We visited Rogers Place and looked at the mosaic by Alex Janvier. He created the art piece as a symbol of Mother Nature and pathways leading to Edmonton. Tuesday, we interviewed people who worked at The Edmonton Journal. We came back with tips about journalism and information on their jobs. We travelled to the Legislature the next day. Our tour guide Michael showed us around and we learned a ton of facts about Alberta, past and present. On Thursday, we explored the Archives. Our class touched artifacts and learned about battles. On our last day we learned about Malcolm Mayes and the comics he made for the Edmonton Journal. Our adventure was an unforgettable experience! 

Jr. Reporters Learn More about Edmonton Journalists
A group of Grade Four Students are making a poster
all about a reporter named Janet French.
Do you want to know how to interview people without getting scared? A good way is to ask Sandy VanRiper at the Edmonton Journal. “She’s the best person to know how to interview,” said Tiffany from Grade 4. Our first interview was on Tuesday March 7th.  We met Karen Unland, Dave Breakenridge, Sarah O’Donnell and Paula Simons. We created and asked 7 questions to everyone. “It was the best being able to meet a person who works at the Edmonton Journal,” says Madison from Grade 4. We all learned how to make thicker questions. Collin Taylor, Janet French, Mark Iype and Juris Graney were who we interviewed on Friday March 10th. After our experience of interviewing……….. we can now question anyone!

Grade Fours Snap into History at the Legislature!
Grade Fours learning about Premier William Aberhart.

Hey have you heard about the Alberta Legislature? Well if you haven’t we will tell you what we learned when we visited there March 8th! We found out that women and aboriginal people were not allowed to vote when it came to politics. Get this, only men were allowed to! A girl group known as the Famous Five worked very hard convincing people and the government to let women have the right to vote. This is why women can vote today! Isn’t that amazing?

GPN Students Train for Greatness
GPN students practicing drills
and wearing army hats.

“ATTENTION!” Warren Howard officer (our tour guide) shouted in the Loyal Regiment Museum! During that day our minds exploded with information!  We had a scavenger hunt and saw artifacts from different wars like a rabbit’s foot and food rations. We learned that training in the army is hard. Our grade 4 class had the opportunity to hold old artifacts like a grenade and a death penny. We received a golden poppy souvenir to remind us about our tour and we will wear it with pride.

Tour of CKUA Was Music to Our Ears
CKUA Radio Station kindly Invites Grade Four students
 in for a little history lesson.
When we walked in the door the first thing that caught our eye was that dazzling painting that read Radio CKUA First On Your Dial. Next, we zoomed straight up in the elevator instead of walking five flights of stairs like at the EJ building (where we barely survived). What an experience to be able to record station IDs! Now some of us are famous because we are on the radio! We also were able to go in the room where they have bands play so they can put them on the radio!  It was interesting to learn about how little black canvas like speakers stop voices/instruments from echoing so you get a better end product.  Lastly, we received SWAG, what more could we have asked for?

Small Kids Fill Minds with Info
Grades Fours visiting the Agora Interpretive Centre.
Grade 4s visited the Federal Building on March 8th! First we went to the Agora Interpretive Centre. “It is cool to learn through fun games,” says Cole. We dressed up as Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House as well as looked at a 360 degree view from the top of the Legislature. Later we watched a 4-D movie of Louise Caroline Alberta. Did you know who she was? When she was a baby her mother thought her brothers and sisters were ugly and she was Queen Victoria's favourite. Alberta and Lake Louise are named after her. Our favourite was when foam shot out of the roof. We also visited a living wall with two mini water falls. We were lucky enough to walk through the Great War exhibit. We all had a soldier and had to find out more about them. Many were killed in action. What an afternoon!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Open Your Eyes to the City Shout Norwood Students

This is us waiting at Stadium LRT Station. We were waiting for the train to come.  It came about every 8 minutes.  We missed the early train every day! We caught the train to Central Station.  Sometimes we had to stand when there were lots of people going places.  It was a great experience!

Look at all those stairs! Every day when we arrived at the Edmonton Journal Building, we walked up five flights of stairs. We were able to see things on every floor on our way up.  It was so much easier going down the stairs instead of up. We won’t miss them!

On Monday, January 16th Norwood School (the UN-4-Getable 4s) went to Iron Foot Place (Tsa Tsa Ke K’e). We saw the mosaic by Alex Janvier.  Some people saw cool things in it.  We saw something that looked like an Angry Bird! We had an outstanding time.  The mosaic was very unique. We hope everyone gets to enjoy it!

On Monday, January 16, we went to Rogers Place (also know as Iron Foot Place) for our first time.  Guess what?! There was a statue of Wayne Gretzky! It was very big! Wayne Gretzky is holding a big trophy called the Stanley Cup.  We hope everyone take a picture of him holding the trophy.  It was amazing!

On Friday, January 20th we arrived at the Edmonton Journal Building and went straight out to the balcony on the fifth floor.  It was a beautiful sunny morning so we could clearly see the river valley and lots of buildings downtown.  We will never forget the view of our city!

Have you ever seen such a beautiful view at such a high height?! The Un-4-Getable 4s did! It was our very first time ever looking out at the city.  We loved being able to see the river.  It was so amazing that our heads almost EXPLODED! We think you would feel the same way too!

On Wednesday, January 18th we did some art at the Alberta Legislature. We found a pole with an imprint of the legislature building on it, taped a piece of paper on it, and lightly shaded using our pencils.  Did you know you could go to the Legislature to do art? You can!

We all made a rubbing downtown and had fun! We rubbed all different shapes and sizes. We miss rubbing because it was so awesome.  Did you know you could make your own art right there on Jasper Avenue? You should take a look at the benches the next time you’re on Jasper Avenue!

On Wednesday, January 18th we walked behind the Legislature.  We had an amazing race! We found some important information. We were surprised by the sign of Fort Edmonton.  We also saw a Totem Pole from British Columbia, and the High Level Bridge.  It was spectacular and something we will never forget!

On Wednesday, January 18th, the Un-4-Getable 4s got to visit the Alberta Legislature Building.  We learned about the Alberta government, the chamber where they meet, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta and Chief Crowfoot.  Our guide Mary was very nice and told us lots of information.  We hope everyone has the chance to visit the legislature!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Talmud Torah Grade 5/6 Class, Dec. 5-9, 2016

The Grade 5/6 class from Talmud Torah School 
begin their first day of their week at Edmonton Journal School.

The students have an opportunity to examine artifacts at JAHSENA.

The Grade 5/6 class is given some background 
information about the history of CKUA.
On a cold December morning, the grade class explored the oldest radio station in Alberta. The CKUA radio station was formed in 1927. The class was given a tour around the wonderful, historic building and witnessed exquisite things all around. One of the interesting sights in the radio station was the library which was filled with thousands of CDs and playlists. The students even got to witness a record player from the 1900s in action. After touring the basement, the students went to the top floor where they explored the recording rooms and got to experiment with soundproof walls. They then met Marketing Mark at the recording studio where they got to record the CKUA station IDs. Finally, the students had an opportunity to engage Ken Regan in a press conference, held by the CKUA radio station. “We are only going to survive and grow if we work together”, Ken Regan explained to the students. At the end of the day the students got SWAG (Stuff We All Get) from the CKUA radio station.

Talmud Torah students have fun cartooning.
What do you think of when you hear the word cartoon? When we think of that word, we think of our amazing week at the Edmonton Journal taking part in the cartoon stations. It was one of our most memorable activities.

As a group, we learned a lot of facts about comics. We learned that Malcolm Mayes does all the editorial comics for the Edmonton Journal. When we learned about comics, we took part in stations such as: choosing comics to put in our journals and writing about them, looking at comics and guessing what their true meaning and examining editorial cartoons about sports and determining their meaning. We then had even more fun discussing with the class about those comics. We learned about sport comics and how some are goofy and some are serious. All the comics are well written and beautifully illustrated. There are usually series of comics and most people have personal favorites. On Saturdays they have four pages of comics.

The Grade 5/6 class enjoyed interviewing 
Ken Regan at the CKUA radio station.
Before we began our interviews EJ School facilitator, Sandy VanRiper gave us many tips to help us prepare for our interviews.  She planned twelve interesting professionals for us to interview. The people we interviewed were: Dani Uretsky, Paula Simons, Gaia Willis, Larry Wong, Elise Campbell, Anna Posteraro, Mark Suits, Mel Wyne, Jeff Samsonow, Collin Taylor and Ken Regan. We interviewed people at JAHSENA, CKUA and at the Edmonton Journal to get an idea of what different professionals do. Most of the people that we interviewed had a lot to say about their jobs and it was hard to write everything down. Interviewing people was a great activity because it was an amazing experience to see the different jobs and people. Many of the people we interviewed had very interesting backgrounds and really cool stories. Some of the people we interviewed had very different jobs and others had very similar jobs.

Before our week at the Edmonton Journal, we thought downtown was just a bunch of concrete buildings. It turns out there is a lot more history there than we thought. We learned about Thistle Rink and how it burned down. That is the reason why the Northlands Coliseum was built. On one of our walks we saw Edmonton’s first skyscraper. Now it is one of the smallest buildings in Edmonton. On our walk, we took a stop to look at the library that is in the process of being relocated to the old Bay building. We went inside and saw some of the paintings and art. Last but not least, we walked to the Oilers Hall Of Fame and saw the Wayne Gretzky statue. Then, we went to Rogers Place and admired the ‘Iron Foot’ mosaic, also known as the ‘Tsa Tsa Ke Ke’, by Alex Janvier. After that we saw the Oil Kings practicing in their practice rink. So in conclusion it was a lot of fun and we learned a lot on our downtown walks.   
The Grade 5/6 class posing with Wayne Gretzky next to Rogers Place.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

EJ recruits junior reporters from MCS

MCS students take to the newsroom 

A week-long trip November 28 to December 2 to the Edmonton Journal proved very educational for the grade 6 students of Millwoods Christian School.

The students spent their first day at The Edmonton Journal with Sandy VanRiper. They enjoyed learning and taking a tour of the building. They examined an old Linotype, a printing press that created one line of newspaper print at a time. Then they looked at a Microfiche reader. Microfiche are little tape roles of photo reel that contain small pictures of newspapers that go into a reader and can be read like a normal newspaper.

The Edmonton Journal was also the headquarters for the students to learn and do various activities. They covered subjects of journalism, writing, editing and cartooning.

The students of Millwoods Christian School benefited greatly from the experience and learned a lot about the history of Edmonton and the newspaper. The Edmonton Journal is a big piece of our city’s recorded history.

Millwoods Christian students visit City Hall
A grade 6 class prepares to sit in on Tuesday’s city council meeting
at Edmonton’s City Hall to learn more about democracy in action.

Tuesday morning, the Millwoods Christian School students went to City Hall to learn about the building’s history and take an educational tour around City Hall.

After watching a Council meeting, the students explored City Hall. They learned about how the fourth City Hall was designed by Gene Dub and how he made it a family friendly place.  The building is made from materials from past City Halls.  The main motto at City Hall is, “Look to the future, take pride in the past.”

Later the class decided to do a mock council.  Students debated the issue of Edmonton implementing a curfew for children under the age of 18.  It was strongly defeated.

If you want more information on City Hall go online to or call 311.

Grade 6 students experience CKUA radio station

On Tuesday afternoon, the grade 6 class looks back at
all the memories made at CKUA building.
Grade 6 students toured around CKUA radio station to learn about the station, on Tuesday afternoon.

A highlight was meeting Marketing Mark who recorded a station ID with the students.

Later, during a press conference with Monica Miller, it was discovered she has been working at CKUA for 39 years. She started as a part-time record librarian, but was soon used to filling in for people at the radio station and learned on the job. She found out that being a broadcaster was exactly what she wanted to do! She has two shows called “Mixtape” and “How I hear it”. Her favorite things are food, friends, books, and walking her dog.

The students left with words of inspiration from Monica. “It doesn't matter what you think you can do; it’s finding out what you want to do and doing it.”
Students from Millwoods Christian watch the ice float by on the
North Saskatchewan River, as they travel downtown on Thursday.

Grade 6 class at the Marian Center
6B carefully sketches the doorway to
honour the homeless across the street
from City Hall Thursday morning.

Millwoods Christian students went to the Marian Centre, on Thursday, to learn about generosity. Twelve people devoted to God live together giving their lives to serve the poor in downtown Edmonton.  Many residents live by the motto, “Love, love, love, never counting the cost.”

 The students had a short tour and saw the chapel where the residents go to pray twice a day with others. Another room they saw was the donation room where Zoyla Grace, a resident, works.  Here people in need can come to get clothing and other items. 

The last room they saw was a music room.  It was here that Steve Héroux, another resident, demonstrated his hammered dulcimer.  His love of music and God was evident as he played his handmade instrument for the students.

Steve Héroux prepares to demonstrate
 his ability to play his hammered dulcimer
as part of a tour at the Marian Centre.
The Marian Centre is a very special place that more people should know about. 

Greenfield School Journalists leave a mark on Downtown Edmonton

Our week at EJ School in late October was fantastic! We really enjoyed learning about the past, present and future. With Sandy VanRiper, we met many magnificent people and saw many landmarks of Edmonton and historical buildings, including CKUA in the Alberta hotel and the Hotel MacDonald. We were all inspired by the interesting people we interviewed! We went all over downtown to learn about history in our marvelous city. Overall, our week at the Edmonton Journal was amazing.   

New Journalists Head Downtown & Do Some Bench Rubbings
Rubbing Holly Newman's Flying Geese bench
 Abby Gottstein
We traveled downtown to some of the poetry benches. We took a pencil crayon and put our paper down on a rubbing of our choice. Lightly, we used the side of our pencil to recreate the artwork. When we were at the benches, we talked about the creator and the creative poetry. Each bench tells a story about a variety of different things that really shared how the artist felt. On some of the benches, it showed Canadian geese and faces that were happy, sad and ones with mixed emotions. Some of the poems made sense while other were confusing in many ways, but they all were very creative. 

Interviewing at EJ School

Interviewing Jeff Samsonow
In class we learned how to interview like a real reporter. We took notes about everything we saw and the notebook came everywhere we went. The notebook was a vital part of our journey and it held every bit of information we collected over the week. Names, dates, nouns, verbs, and actions all went inside. We learnt that the first question a reporter asks is “What is your name and can you please spell it?” We wrote down every word that came out of our subject’s mouth and we tried to look for quotes that they told us. We had to prepare questions before we came and sometimes to come up with them while we were interviewing. Some of us wrote 5-6 pages just about one topic. The subjects also gave us great advice and information about poverty and homelessness for our United Way project.

Livi Palmer
Outside CKUA
During the week at EJ School our class went to CKUA. We learned so much about radio stations and how they work. There we created station IDs and that every few hours they are required to play identity tags so listeners know that the station is CKUA. When we finished listening to our recordings we all realized that our voices sound different than we think we sound. In the library we learned about all the different generations of music. We even heard some of the music and saw music players that were around from the 1880’s. That music was so interesting because they had no words. Next we had a press conference with Tony King. He had such an interesting and inspirational story.

Poverty in Edmonton
Livi Palmer
The Grade 6 students from Greenfield School have been working hard on trying to raise awareness to end poverty. We decided to order shirts with logos on them and go to High Schools and talk about how we can raise awareness. At EJ School we also talked more about it and how to get the audience's attention. We also talked to lots of the people to see what they felt about homelessness and poverty. They also gave us ways to be more confident in our work and presenting to a big group of kids that are older than us. This gave us more things to put into our presentation.

Grade six uses timeline to learn about the history of Edmonton. 
Time connections
During EJ School we met a nice man named Dan Rose who works at Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. He taught us about the downtown Edmonton history. We learned about the Hotel MacDonald, how it has been in terrible condition and about to be taken down. Did you know that McDougall Church was built in 1910 and over 105 years old? Learning with Dan was an amazing experience.  We built a timeline of buildings or moments in Edmonton. We put down facts like the Thistle Rink burning down in 1913 and the Pulitzer Prize awarded in 1938. We are very happy we had this experience to learn about the history of our city.  

Our Fifth and Last Year

No EJ School 2017-18

If you check the Inquiring Minds application for 2017-18, you will notice EJ School is not there.
This is the last school year of this program. 
There will be 2 more classes: one each in January and March and then the program will be done.

Am I sad? Yes.

After 5 years, 31 classes and amazing teachers and almost 800 students, it has been a wonderful experience of week-long, site-based inquiry. The Edmonton Journal staff have been warm, welcoming and eager participants in this process. It has been my absolute pleasure to meet a host of amazing writers, editors and photojournalists during this time.

But we have always known that this program and the Edmonton Journal and PostMedia exist in “interesting times”.
Last EJ School class exit past
Edmonton Journal's Pulitzer Prize
Ever since this idea was a twinkle in Linda Hut’s eye in 2012 and she helped the Edmonton Journal, Karen Unland and Barb Wilkinson find their way to Inquiring Minds, EJ School has been an outstanding example of stripped down, grassroots site building.
However, in-house program champion, Barb Wilkinson, will be leaving the Edmonton Journal at the end of January.
The staff at the Edmonton Journal have been dealing with a steady stream of departures and while huge supporters of this little program are resigned to what will happen.
Linda intends to continue taking interested City Hall School classes over for a visit as long as she can. She does an amazing job in her time there.

When I sent out this information to EJ School teacher alumni, I received back many kind words of their experience of the program. It really has been a great gift to work with open and creative educators.

Change is inevitable and I do not feel print journalism is done. But technology is altering the media used to communicate and all those related business models in many ways. Since Gutenberg it has been so. I understand now that reliable, accurate and timely information is not actually free of charge. What that means to the future of the newspaper business I am not sure.

In the words of John F. Kennedy “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”


Sandy VanRiper